Saving Water Is Our Civic Responsibility

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According to town water specialists, Payson has enough water now and for the immediate future. The tanks are filling each night and the town's system is meeting the daily demand for water even through high-demand weekends.

This is good news for Payson. We commend the town staff for all the work it did to upgrade our water system, which has allowed us to avoid mandatory water conservation measures this year.

A story on the front page of today's Roundup highlights the progress we've made in pumping and storing water. It also addresses the question "how long can our water supply last and how many people can it support?"

Extensive groundwater reports from 1998 tell us the magic number is 18,200 people. This figure, however, assumes average rainfall every year, and a 10- to 20-percent reduction in per capita water use.

When the report was released, the water department began promoting water conservation and restrictions to reduce the amount of water we're using but our per-capita water consumption hasn't dropped.

We've gone two consecutive years with little water recharge, and while the latest water report is optimistic, it would be irresponsible for us not to take water conservation more seriously.

Here are some water-saving tips from Jeff Durbin, Payson's water resource specialist.

Plant low-water use plants. You can save more than 400 gallons a month by planting a xeriscape yard. A free plant booklet is available at the water department.

Check all the faucets once a year. A half-inch leak can waste 603 gallons a month.

Install a low-flow showerhead. They use half the water of a regular showerhead. They save electricity, too, since half the shower water used is heated. With the latest showerhead technology, you won't even feel the difference when you shower.

Check to see if your home is leak-free, because many homes have hidden water leaks. Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.

The town has come a long way in efficiently managing our water resources. Let's do our part to conserve for the future. For more conservation tips and information, log on to the town's Web site at www.ci.payson.az.us., or call the water department at (520) 474-5251, ext. 4.

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